There’s a lot to dissect in Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” music video. Between all the historical references and surreal mix of violent and joyous imagery, it’s not surprising that many people have continuously revisited the visual in an attempt to find additional layers of meaning. Yes, there are the obvious allusions to race issues, America’s devotion to guns, and superficial distractions; however, according to Gambino’s creative director Ibra Ake, their approach wasn’t as “cerebral or calculated” as some writers think; their main intention was simply to “normalize” the black experience.
“As creators who are kind of marginalized with our voice, we try to make stuff in a vacuum in a way where we’re not influenced by what was made before us, which usually—in the media specifically— comes from a white world and a white infrastructure or a system that is controlled by white people,” Ake said in a recent interview with WNYC’s The Takeaway. “So even with this video, we kind of reduced it to a feeling—a very black feeling, a very violent feeling, but also a very fun feeling.”
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